Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bemused & Befuddled

The following arrived in my email.
[Illustrated with cartoon figures of old people]

My forgetter's getting better,
But my rememberer is broke
To you that may seem funny
But, to me, that is no joke

For when I'm "here" I'm wondering
If I really should be "there"
And, when I try to think it through,
I haven't got a prayer!

Oft times I walk into a room,
Say "what am I here for?"
I wrack my brain, but all in vain!
A zero, is my score.

At times I put something away
Where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from
Is, generally, me!

When shopping I may see someone,
Say "Hi" and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away
I ask myself, "who was that?"

Yes, my forgetter's getting better
While my rememberer is broke,
And it's driving me plumb crazy
And that isn't any joke.

CAN YOU RELATE ? ? ? Please send this to everyone you know because I DON'T REMEMBER WHO I SENT THIS TO!
Have a great day who ever you are!

Have a great day in spite of the fact that I’m losing my mind? I am bemused and befuddled by the above. I believe that a sense of humor, especially the ability to laugh at ourselves, is essential to our health and well being, whatever our age, but is the loss of mental faculties really funny? My father suffered senile dementia and my mother’s death certificate listed the cause of death as “Alzheimer’s.” Needless to say, I am more than a little concerned about my risk factor as I grow older. Sometimes I laugh when I forget something but sometimes I feel sheer terror.

However, I think that I do not really find the above particularly humorous because it is a reflection of the stereotype of older people prevalent in our society. There are many persons who are advanced in years who are productive members of society, but in spite of ample evidence to the contrary, the stereotype prevails and often leads to the elderly being treated in a dismissive way. In many facilities for the elderly, residents are referred to as “Honey, Sweetie, etc.” Too often the elderly are treated like children. Children who are sometimes seen but not heard. Not listened to. Not noticed. Overlooked. Not taken seriously.

It is a subtle and pervasive discrimination and most people do not even realize they are doing it. Even some of us who are elderly, join in the joke rather than try to dispel the myth.

The next time you see an elderly person, remember, they are an adult inside an aging body hoping to be recognized and deserving of respect.

It is quite wrong to think of old age as a downward slope. On the contrary, one climbs higher and higher with the advancing years, and that, too, with surprising strides. Brain-work comes as easily to the old as physical exertion to the child. One is moving, it is true, towards the end of life, but that end is now a goal, and not a reef in which the vessel may be dashed. George Sand


  1. Dear Septuagenarian-Sarah,
    I stumbled upon your blog by lucky chance. I was searching Blogger for "Episcopal Deacon" and you were there, somewhere towards the bottom of the list. Is that because of fewer hits? What a shame, yours is what I was looking for - sort of. There are lots of blogging Episcopalians and lots of blogging priests, but deacons are few and far between.
    Don't believe for a minute that age has prevented you from ministry. We are all baptized into ministry and yours shines brightly! Please keep illuminating the manner in which we see our elders. I will continue to read your posts with delight!

    You have a wonderful voice!

  2. Dear Charlotte,
    Thanks for your very encouraging words. I could be close to the bottom of the list because I began the blog recently. I am not an ordained deacon. I went through the discernment process and was recommended to go forward but canon law was changed and I am the mandatory retirement age! [Read my entry "Too old"] Welcome to my blog! Sarah

  3. I am not an ordained deacon. I went through the discernment process and was recommended to go forward but canon law was changed and I am the mandatory retirement age! [Read my entry "Too old"]

    I read that post ;)
    More's the pity that the canons were changed - as I said, you have a wonderful ministry!

  4. You know the saying: "Old age is not for sissies!"